03 July 2010

Jul 3

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we read about the religious reforms of Josiah. While the temple was being repaired, Hilkiah the high priest finds the Book of the Law in the temple. This causes King Josiah to engage in a number of religious reforms which, not surprisingly, involve killing those who do not follow his ways and desecrating their places of worship. (Yes, I understand that, for believers, Josiah had rediscovered the truth so he was doing the right thing. However, if you are a believer, imagine how you would feel if a Muslim ruler started desecrating churches and murdering Christian priests. This is likely like the followers of those other gods felt.)

According to Wikipedia, there are several possibilities for what this scroll actually was. First off, it was not the whole Torah. That would not have fit on a single scroll. Traditionally, the scroll was thought to be the book of Deuteronomy, or at least a significant portion of it. However, others believe that the priests at the time of Josiah wrote the scroll as a way of justifying Josiah's consolidation of power (perhaps from existing fragments and/or oral tradition).

Either way, in the story related to us, Josiah certainly does use the scroll to consolidate his power. He violently destroys every competing form of worship, whether that be worship of other Gods or worship of Yahweh in other locations. He also read the scroll to "all" of people of Judah and Jerusalem and renewed the covenant with God.

King Josiah revives the Passover celebration.
There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah.
In other words, the Passover had not been celebrated in the right way since the times of legend. Or, perhaps, in light of the fact that the scroll may have been written by the priests of Josiah's time, the Passover was celebrated for the first time by Josiah.

Despite all of Josiah's reforms, God still wants to destroy Judah because of his anger over the evil done by Manasseh.

New Testament

As Paul is being arrested, he recounts his conversion experience.

Psalms and Proverbs

Apparently we start the psalms all over again. I probably will not bother commenting on them much this time around.